Mavs struggle against Wildcats
ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Mesa State totaled only 19 yards in the second half Saturday against 11th-ranked Central Washington University and had no response to the Wildcats in Central Washington’s 48-14 victory.
Not only did the Mavericks have difficulty putting points on the board, they couldn’t stop CWU from doing the same in all facets of the game as the Wildcats scored on offense, defense and special teams.
“We didn’t play well with any phase of the game to compete with them,” Maverick head coach Joe Ramunno said. “They did it in all three phases of the game. This was a reality check, but I still believe in this crew.”
Central Washington first got on the board when Ryan Dyer picked up a blocked CJ Smith punt deep in Mesa territory, returning it for the touchdown.
A few minutes later, Central’s Jerome Williams picked off Phil Vigil’s pass and the Wildcat offense followed up with a six-play, 71-yard drive, culminating with a 39-yard touchdown completion from Mike Reilly to Johnny Spevak.
Early on, Mesa strung together some fireworks of its own, when Kris Means rumbled virtually untouched for an 80-yard touchdown on the next play from scrimmage, cutting the lead in half.
“The one thing we didn’t do well defensively was that big 80-yard run early on,” Wildcats head coach Blaine Bennett said.
But two minutes later, CWU got back into the end zone in seven plays when Reilly again struck from the air, this time a 24-yard pass play to Chris Rohrbach.
Mesa answered with a 10-play drive, including carries by Bobby Coy for 35 yards, before Vigil found Maurice Manley in the end zone to make it 21-14. It was the closest the Mavericks got as Courtney Smith retuned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
With less than a minute to play in the half, Central added a little insurance with a 13-yard strike from Reilly to tight end Jared Bronson.
“They block that punt and return that kickoff and it’s hard to come back from 35-14 when it’s supposed to be 21-14,” said Mesa State defensive back Brandon Waymire.
The Wildcats’ defense also had a field day, sacking Vigil nine times. Three Wildcat defenders had more than one sack.
“Their front seven played really well putting pressure on me,” Vigil said.
No Maverick caught more than four passes (Manley and Griffin Chernoff) and Coy, who rushed for 201 yards against West Texas A&M last week, could only muster 61 yards on the ground.
“It’s over with now,” Vigil said. “There’s no use to dwell on it.”
Ramunno agreed, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Mavericks have some work to do.
“We got a lot of things exposed,” he said.